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Czechs protest against new justice minister

For the second week in a row, thousands of Czechs have protested in Prague and other cities against the appointment of the country’s new justice minister.

Marie Benešová was appointed to lead the ministry after the resignation of her predecessor Jan Kněžínek and will now have significant control over prosecutions, with protesters afraid that she will try to protect prime minister Andrej Babiš, who potentially faces a fraud trial.

Babiš is accused of using European Union funds to build a luxury resort worth two million euros. Police last month called on prosecutors to indict him. If found guilty, he could be jailed for up to 10 years.

The May 6 protest was larger than the previous week, with organisers claiming at least 20,000 people had gathered in Prague’s Old Town Square.

Protesters chanted “We are not blind”, and called for both Benešová’s and Babiš to resign as well as an independent justice system.